Monday, February 25, 2013

Power Rankings


1) Yes, as promised our first installment of  our Power Rankings, where we rank each NHL team 1-30 based upon overall records, and weighting recent play a tad more heavily to give a more up to date/accurate measure of where each team stands as of today, approximately 1/3+ the way through the abbreviated 2013 campaign
  1. Chicago: Have yet to lose a game in regulation this season!  Seem to be motivated to get back to the pinnacle of the league once again. Biggest surprise is how good the goaltending tandem of Crawford/Emery is doing thus far. Many expected this to be a team weakness. Not so far! Have to be every one's Cup favourites!
  2. Anaheim: Can you say Adams Trophy for Bruce Boudreau?  As many will correctly point out, coaches look as good as their goalies play. No difference here. Swedish import Victor Fasth, is off to a Fasth (sorry) start. 8-0 and lights out stats for a guy not expected to play much.  Key will be continuing to get production from old Finn Sellanne/Koivu.
  3. Pittsburgh: The best team in the East right now. Only potential issue is the Malkin concussion. However this team has shown in the past that they can withstand injuries to their top 2.  Crosby has been as dominant as ever, and Neal, despite his defensive liabilities, is the scoring wing the team has lacked in previous seasons.  Will be tough to beat from here on out if malkin comes back healthy
  4. Boston: They may not be scoring a ton of goals like the 3 teams above them, but who needs to when your #1 goalie, Tukka Rask has a save % of .925!?  After a bit of a slow start the Bruins have been turning it on in recent weeks, and appear ready to fight for bragging rights as the team to beat in the East.
  5. Montreal:  No, that's not a typo, the Habs are playing as good as anyone right now. We figured they'd be better than last year and sneak into the post season, but not be a contender. Will be interesting if they can keep it up, especially with a long road trip upcoming. They have a nice blend of speed and depth at forward and if Markov stays healthy, have a decent defense as well.
  6. Detroit: After a bit of a shaky start the Red Wings appear to be about to put it together,  Hard to adjust to losing their captain and best defensemen in Lidstrom, but Niklas Kronwall seems ready to step up, at least offensively. The dynamic duo of Zeterburg and Datsyuk are playing as good as ever, They will need to get more consistent top goal tending from Howard to stay in the top 8 of a VERY competitive West
  7. Ottawa: Just when you leave them for dead, they just keep on winning. The losses of Michalek, Spezza and Karlsson haven't dampened their competitiveness. Doesn't hurt that Craig Anderson is playing as good as any goalie in the NHL with gaudy stats of a save % of .952 and a GAA under 1.50. Probably running away with the Vezina and perhaps even some Hart consideration if this continues.
  8. Vancouver: 'Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes'. The guy the fans wanted run out of town is now arguably their best player/reason they are where they are in the standings. Roberto Luongo. Gaining points in 8 of the 10 games he's played. Can/will they trade their #1 guy? It probably would be a good idea, and as we wrote a couple of weeks ago a deal is likely sooner than later. Will be interesting if they have second thoughts?
  9. New Jersey: Despite a recent slide, the Devils remain a top 10 team. Led by ageless Marty Brodeur, as well as 'ageless Patrick Elias and emerging top power forward David Clarkson the team continues to roll along.  A veritable no name defense in front of Brodeur along with the usual rolling of 3-4 good steady forward lines keep the Devs in all their games.
  10. St. Louis: Surprisingly have been inconsistent, especially when playing in front of the home crowd.  Some of the inconsistency can be found in the disappointing start to co-#1 goalie Brian Elliott who's stats compared with Halak are dreadful. They're gonna have to either play Elliott sparingly or he better improve his game else the Blues may actually find themselves on the outside of the playoffs despite having a solid roster
  11. Carolina: Another team, like St. Louis, that seems to have the jitters at home, but prove to be tough competition when the visitors. Seem to have turned a corner as of late, the duo of the Staal brothers is performing as advertised. If Cam Ward can find his game and play to his ability on a consistent basis the 'Canes will be tough to beat in the SE division
  12. Nashville: Where would this team be without super star goalie Pekke Rinne?  They simply can not score (as usual) sitting at 29th in the 30 team league. Meanwhile Rinne has lights out stats with a .931 save %.  If he ever got injured they'd be done. Can Bary Trotz (now the longest tenured NHL coach) pull more magic and get his goal starved team into the post season once again?
  13. Toronto: The Maple Leafs were not supposed to be a playoff team until they got Luongo, right?  Well, the duo of Scrivens and Reimer have been well more than adequate, making a trade for the aforementioned Canuck silly at this time. If Kessel can start to find the net like new Leaf van Reimsdyk, they will be an especially tough opponent for fellow Eastern teams.
  14. Dallas: Although they can score more readily than their fellow conference foe Preds, the Stars could ill afford an injury to their top goalie Kari Lehtonen. Since his injury they haven't been the same team. The Stars desperately need one of their two current goalies to step up else it won't matter that they can score if they keep giving up one more than their opponents! 
  15. Tampa Bay: The high flying/scoring Bolts appeared to have their heir apparent in net with the acquisition of  Anders Lindback.  However, thus far he hasn't been consistent and may have lost his starters job to journeyman Matt Garon.  Stamkos, St. Louis, etc simply can't score enough to win consistently if they don't also get top flight goaltending.
  16. San Jose: The Sharks after a hot start have fallen off the map!  Winning only once in the past 10 games. They are absolutely dreadful away from the Shark Tank. After starting on fire Marleau and Thornton are in major scoring skids.  If not for Niemi playing at the top of his game things could be even worse for the Sharks. While we don't think they are Cup contenders any longer, they should be better than this! 
  17. Phoenix: Take the desert Dogs out of Arizona and they are whimpering puppies, winning only 2 of their first 8 road games. Some of the reasons the Coyotes are struggling at times is the inconsistent tending of Mike Smith, as well as (now) over paid Shane Doan and Keith Yandl not scoring as much as their salaries require.
  18. Philadelphia: Another team that simply is not the same when they leave town. 4-8 on the road is not going to get them into the playoffs.  The good news is they are due for a home stand to help gain some ground. Injuries to Hartnell, Briere, Simmonds and now Read have also hurt them. And shocker, the goaltending hasn't been great. 
  19. Los Angeles:  Yes, the ole Stanley Cup hangover?  Haven't yet got their footing on the season, but we feel that once they start to score, and they should, they will ascend the West. They have a lot of home cooking upcoming that will help their standings position. Quick does need to up his game a bit as well if they are to be considered a threat to repeat 
  20. NY Rangers: Surprised to see the Blue shirts this low in our rankings. However very ordinary play, especially away from MSG have dropped them  to 10th in the competitive East. The Nash injury can't be used as a crutch as Brad Richards is looking/playing like Scott Gomez.  Nash only had 3 goals in his first 14 games. We figured the acquisition might upset the chemistry they had last year, but didn't think it would cause them to miss the post season!
  21. Minnesota: The high price tag additions of Parise/Suter were going to put the Wild over the top, right?  Thus far they have been a dud. Parise for his part is having a decent season, but Suter has yet to dent the twine and has had some defensive lapses at times. Another over priced commodity, Dany Heatly after a hot start has gone into hibernation. There are simply too many good teams out West for the Wild to get too far behind, so they better start winning, especially away from home, and soon!
  22. Calgary: The veteran-laden team has hung in there so far, but are not one of the better defensive teams so we doubt they will be in the mix much longer.  It will be especially tough if #1 goalie Mikka Kiprusoff continues to have knee problems. It may be time to disassemble the team and look towards a rebuild.   
  23. Winnipeg: Looks like they will finally get their wish and be moved out West. As they say, 'be careful what you wish for....'  Right now in the weaker, but competitive East the Jets are a playoff contender. Out West, well, probably not yet. It will be especially tough with the sub par goaltending the team has received from starter Ondrej Pavelec.  Kane, Wheeler and Ladd are certainly doing their jobs, unfortunately the goalies have not
  24. Edmonton: Almost exactly a .500 team. Not where we predicted. For some reason, oddly scoring has been difficult. Perhaps its time for the franchise to make a trade of one of their prized assets to change the dynamic/fill a hole?  Or wait it out. I think a turn around is very possible if the front office allows them time to grow together
  25. Washington: Have actually ascended to 25th from dead last if we did this rankings a week ago. Still are NOT a serous threat to make the playoffs. Anyone who thinks differently is deceiving themselves. Simply not enough(if any) players willing to get dirty/give the extra effort to win enough on talent alone. Inconsistent goaltending, especially early on helped sink their season. Time to change middle management?
  26. Colorado: For some reason have been different team away from Pepsi Center. Recent run of games has dropped them out of the top 8. The Landeskog injury and O'Reilly contract issue have probably hurt their scoring . Goaltending hasn't been bad, but not quite good enough either to make the Av's a top 8 team. We wouldn't put a fork in em' just yet though
  27. NY Islanders: If they played as well at the NVMC as they did on the road they'd be a top 5 team in the East. Offensively are doing fine. The duo of Taveres and Moulson are as good as any, but too many defensive lapses along with only mediocre goaltending have brought the team under .500. Interesting what they do with goalie for life Rick DiPietro.  If they 'compliance' buy him out to create cap space will bode well. If they keep him, or buy him out as to use cap space, bodes poorly 
  28. Florida:  'Team collage' performing right where we expected them. Winning but twice in their last 10 has probably dashed any playoff aspirations. A dearth of scoring along with average defense/goaltending equals a poor record.   Bright spot is Jon Huberdeau, but Fleishman, Weiss up front and Campbell and Kuba on the backline have been disappointments, if not out right dreadful.  Time for Jose Theodore to retire
  29. Buffalo: New coach, same results so far. The 2013 version on Montreal. Underachieving in a big way.  With a new front office could see them rebounding next season. Tyler Myers looks lost and needs someone to sit him down and get him a role and stick to it.  Vanek carried the team the first few weeks, but he can't do it alone. Ryan Miller has been good, but not good enough most nights.
  30. Columbus: In familiar territory, however as our post about the team said, finally there is REAL hope for an improvement in the future. Based upon their roster they are right where we expected.  Their goalies are average at best, and the team has trouble scoring most nights. That equates to a sub .500, likely another lottery pick,  finish.  

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